MADERNO, Stefano
(b. 1575, Roma, d. 1636, Roma)

Hercules and Antaeus

c. 1622
Unfired clay, height 59 cm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This unbaked clay group depicts Hercules and Antaeus. Hercules stands knotting his arms around the lifted Antaeus, who clutches at his face and shoulder and grips him with his right leg. It is on an oblong base with a tree stump support.

Comparatively few works in unfired clay survive because they are fragile and easily damaged. This group is unfired but has been coated. It has been damaged, but it is unusual for such a large unfired object to survive at all.